Number of new quality flexible jobs only rises slightly

The proportion of higher paid jobs which are advertised with flexible working options has risen slightly to 9.8%, which compares to the estimated 54% who currently work flexibly, according to a new report.

Part time working or full time working spelled out in dice


The Timewise Flexible Jobs Index 2017 shows the number of jobs over £20,000 FTE advertised as open to flexible working rose slightly from 8.7% in 2016.  That means it will take approximately 40 years to reach 54%, the point at which the supply of flexible jobs would match the current proportion of employees who work part time or flexibly.

The report says people who work flexibly, particularly part time, often get ‘stuck’ in their current roles, because there isn’t a flexible jobs market for them to go to and that it is hard to progress as flexible workers.

It adds that it is “common practice” for flexible workers to trade down to get the flexibility they need. Some even abandon their careers completely, says the report. “The result is a loss of skills to business and the economy,” it states. To ensure they don’t lost out on talent the report says employers need to look at flexible job design, build flexible career pathways and adopt flexible hiring programmes, where it is made explicit in job adverts that a job can be done flexibly.

The report also says that half of all flexible jobs are part time, with the greatest potential for growth in the flexible jobs market lying with the other forms of flexibility as employers can potentially open up their full-time jobs to remote working or flexible hours.

By sector, the report says health and social services are significantly ahead of all other categories, reflecting the shiftwork patterns of nurses and care workers and possibly the fact that these are largely ‘feminised’ roles.  Low rates of flexibility in areas such as maintenance, engineering, manufacturing and construction may also stem from gender issues, it states, adding that many ‘professional’ roles suffer from lower than average rates of flexible working.

Karen Mattison and Emma Stewart, joint CEOs of Timewise: “Whilst there’s a lot of discussion about building a better jobs market, much of the debate has been focused on how to make poorly paid jobs, such as those in the gig and zero hours economies, more secure and of better quality. What’s missing is a focus on how to improve the flexibility of existing, permanent, high-quality jobs.”

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